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Be prepared for August's solar eclipse: How to view the Great American Eclipse

Posted at 8:46 PM, Jun 13, 2017

Nearly all of the United States will have the opportunity to view a historic solar eclipse in August, as at least two-thirds of the sun will disappear behind the moon's shadow for part of the day. 

For those lucky enough to live near towns like Portland, Oregon, Kansas City, Omaha, Nebraska, Boise, Idaho and  Nashville, they will see the sun completely be obscured by the moon, marking the first total solar eclipse in the United States in nearly four decades. 

In major cities such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles, roughly 70 percent of the sun will be blocked during the peak of the eclipse. Major Midwest cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis and St. Louis will see at least 80 percent of the sun obscured by the moon. 

But it turns out looking at a solar eclipse can be quite dangerous. According to NASA, a solar eclipse is only safe to look at with the naked eye when the eclipse is in totality. That means those without proper equipment would miss the dramatic moments leading up to totality. 

Whether you live in an area that will have a total eclipse, or elsewhere in the US where up to 99 percent of the sun will be blocked, looking at an eclipse will require special equipment. Staring directly at the sun, even when the sun is 99 percent blocked, could cause damage to the retina. 

In order to safely view a solar eclipse, Amazon offers special eclipse glasses which block out the harmful rays of the sun. For $10.98, a person can buy a pack of 10 solar eclipse glasses. Amazon also offers a four-pack of solar eclipse glasses with a viewing guide for $9.95. Both products are on Amazon Prime.

If you want an up-close look at the eclipse, Amazon offers solar binoculars for $69.99

Another safe option to view a solar eclipse is No. 14 welder's glass. 

If you are looking for an inexpensive way of viewing the eclipse, you can use the pinhole method

Regardless of what method you decide, you will want to decide early. 

NASA has an interactive map to see how much of the sun will be blocked in your area.